National Debt and Wars

Take a functional approach to the national debt. Learners collect information about the national debt by decade and plot the data. They determine whether an exponential curve is a good fit for the data by comparing the percent changes from one decade to the next. Working in groups, scholars compare changes in the debt during the Civil War, WWI, and WWII.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Challenge the class to find smaller intervals of debt they canĀ  model using linear and exponential functions
Classroom Considerations

  • The class should be familiar with fitting an exponential function to data
  • Individuals should be comfortable working in spreadsheets to create graphs
Pros

  • Contains reflections for both the class and the teacher
  • Includes ideas for extensions
Cons

  • The answer key does not provide solutions to the questions in the worksheet